UMH physical therapist Guerra develops new cancer program

Physical therapist Abi Guerra has developed a specialized cancer program, lymphedema and post-mastectomy physical therapy, for Uvalde Memorial Hospital.

Guerra, one of only 68 oncology certified physical therapists in the country and the first female in her inaugural class, has completed the necessary credentialing to become a board certified clinical specialist in oncologic physical therapy.

She has also obtained a lymphedema certification, which further qualifies her to serve those affected by cancer and cancer treatments within our community.

Historically, oncologists have advised cancer patients to rest and to avoid activity. The two major health concerns in the growing population of cancer survivors include reoccurrence and mortality, and persistent adverse effects of cancer treatment.

Now, across the nation, cancer rehabilitation is becoming more of an integral part of comprehensive cancer care services that support psychological and functional well-being after diagnosis.

According to the American Cancer Society, the survival rate for all cancers has increased from 49 percent in 1975-1977 to 67 percent in 2006-2012, due to advances in cancer diagnosis and treatments, physical therapy included.

Seeing a physical therapist to learn the best exercise routines for a person during their cancer treatment or after cancer-related surgeries can help combat a number of potential side effects of cancer and its treatment: fatigue, heart rate changes, loss of sensation, weakness/atrophy, decreased endurance, balance deficits, falls, difficulty with activities of daily living, and more.

Guerra sees a variety of cancer-related diagnoses, such as hematological disorders, solid tumors, metastatic cancer, post-surgical breast cancer procedures, lymphedema, patients undergoing chemo, and more.

Each patient seen at UMH’s rehabilitation department receives individualized therapy tailored to fit their specific needs.

Every person who has ever been diagnosed with cancer, has undergone cancer treatments, or is currently undergoing cancer treatment can benefit from physical therapy. Prospective patients should speak with their doctor before pursuing physical therapy.

For more information on the specialized program, call the rehabilitation department at 830-278- 6251, extension 1621.

About Guerra

Born and raised in Eagle Pass, Abi Roxana Guerra joined Uvalde Memorial Hospital’s rehabilitation department in August of 2019.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nutritional sciences from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. She earned a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of the Incarnate Word.

After completion of physical therapy school in 2017, Guerra worked for two years at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The preceding information was submitted by Sammi Raley, marketing coordinator for Uvalde Memorial Hospital.